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What’s behind Jimmy Kimmel’s threat to sue Aaron Rodgers

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(LOS ANGELES) — Late night host Jimmy Kimmel lashed out at Aaron Rodgers on social media on Tuesday night, accusing the NFL quarterback of putting his family at risk and threatening to take him to court.

The comments on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, were just the latest in a simmering disagreement between the two celebrities that appears close to boiling over.

Why did Jimmy Kimmel blast Rodgers on social media?

Kimmel and Rodgers’ disagreement was taken to the next level on Tuesday when Kimmel, whose show airs on ABC, angrily responded to comments made earlier in the day by the quarterback on “The Pat McAfee Show,” which airs on ESPN.

McAfee’s co-host A.J. Hawk brought up the list of names tied to convicted sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein that is expected to be released this week.

The documents stem from a 2015 civil defamation lawsuit centered on allegations that Epstein’s one-time paramour, Ghislaine Maxwell, facilitated the sexual abuse of Virginia Giuffre, an alleged trafficking victim. Giuffre also accused Epstein and Maxwell of directing her to have sex with Prince Andrew and several other prominent men. Prince Andrew denied the allegations and claimed he could not recall ever meeting Giuffre. He later settled a different lawsuit she filed against him.

In response to Hawk mentioning the documents’ expected release, Rodgers quipped, “There’s a lot of people, including Jimmy Kimmel, are really hoping that doesn’t come out.” Rodgers, who was conducting the video interview from his wine room, followed up, saying he would be “popping some sort of bottle” when the list is released.

Kimmel responded to Rodgers’ comments Tuesday night on social media, writing, “for the record, I’ve not met, flown with, visited, or had any contact whatsoever with Epstein, nor will you find my name on any ‘list’ other than the clearly-phony nonsense that soft-brained wackos like yourself can’t seem to distinguish from reality. Your reckless words put my family in danger. Keep it up and we will debate the facts further in court.”

No connection known between Kimmel and Epstein

There has never been any indication that Kimmel’s name would appear in the Epstein documents.

Most of the prominent names that appear in the documents are already associated in some way with Epstein; for a variety of reasons, including allegations of wrongdoing, for having worked for Epstein, flown on his planes, or visited his homes, ABC News previously reported. Some were mentioned during Maxwell’s criminal trial in 2021. In some instances, the only appearances of the names are in potential witness lists or in proposed terms for searches of electronic records.

It’s unclear exactly why Rodgers would mention Kimmel’s name being on the list, but Kimmel did mock Rodgers’ previous comments on the Epstein list on his show last February.

In a February episode of “The Pat McAfee Show,” where Rodgers appears as a weekly guest, Rodgers brought up, in a discussion about the Chinese spy balloon and UFOs, “There’s a lot of other things going on in the world. Did you hear about the Epstein client list about to be released? There are some files that have some names on it that might be getting released pretty soon.”

Kimmel mocked Rodgers’ comments on his late night show at the time, calling him a “tin-foil hatter” and saying, “It might be time to revisit that concussion protocol, Aaron.”

McAfee alluded to that moment Tuesday when Rodgers mentioned Kimmel, saying, “Jimmy mocked him for it, and Aaron has not forgotten about it.”

Have Kimmel and Rodgers bickered about anything else?

In addition to the criticism Kimmel levied at Rodgers last February, he has commented on the New York Jets quarterback’s anti-vaccine stance.

In November 2021, Kimmel joked about Rodgers testing positive for COVID-19 and missing a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The news of his positive test led to the discovery by the public that Rodgers had not been vaccinated.

“Aaron Rodgers reportedly received a homeopathic treatment over the summer instead of the vaccine,” Kimmel said, setting up a joke about the quarterback’s man bun with a photo. “Nothing says I heel myself with crystals like this haircut.”

The NFL ended up fining the Packers $300,000 while Rodgers was fined $14,650 for misleading the league about his vaccination status.

Rodgers told “The Pat McAfee Show” a few days after the fine that he stood by his comments on vaccination, but apologized for misleading people about his own status.

“I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading,” Rodgers said. “To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility for those comments.”

ABC News reached out to Rodgers’ agent, David Dunn, and the New York Jets for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.

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